Photo Credit: SPMA Council
When the Brock Sport Management (SPMA) Council decided to start a podcast, it seemed like an exciting initiative full of untapped potential.
The idea was first broached by current SPMA Council President Ethan Crystal in the winter of 2018. Their first episode was released in March of 2019, with Crystal acting as producer and host. However, Crystal was set to begin an internship at LSU in the fall and needed assistance to keep the show up and running while he was away. William Ord, another SPMA Council member, came on as Crystal’s co-host beginning with the show’s third episode. Now that Crystal’s role has shifted to President, Ord has since taken over as full-time host and producer.
“Ethan needed help because he was going to LSU on exchange and I just took it on a whim even though I had zero podcasting experience,” said Ord. “When [Crystal] was on exchange he was still in charge of most of the editing, but the hosting and content was all on me. So it was all learning on the fly, learning how to keep an engaging conversation with the guest which, when you’re doing 30-40 minute interviews, is a lot to handle. But you learn as you go.”
Ord said that the show’s ‘big break’ came this past February when BrockTV asked them to do a series of video podcasts for Brock’s SPMA Alumni Day, an annual event that sees dozens of SPMA alum come back to Brock for a day of guest speaking and networking.
“It was an awesome opportunity to get to do that,” said Ord. “They brought on three sets of SPMA alumni guests and we did individual pods with them on video. It was a first for the show and it was unbelievable to interact with the alumni and truly connect with the SPMA community.”
The first season of the show consisted of 15 episodes and saw a number of other SPMA Council members hop on as guest co-hosts with Ord. Now, in the midst of their second season, Ord has taken over production in addition to hosting duties. The show now has a full podcast team, who, like Ord, have no prior experience in podcasting.
“We have a podcast administrator and a social media coordinator in Neville Madill and Evan Pike and they’ve been absolute rock stars this year. It’s been a full team effort this season to get guests on,” said Ord. “[Madill] reaches out to guests and handles communications and [Pike] handles the content and graphics for our Instagram page, but they also have first dibs on co-hosting episodes too.”
The revolving co-hosts has been a constant in the show since its inception, with various other council members appearing on different episodes here and there. Sometimes it will just be Ord and a guest and sometimes he’ll have a co-host alongside him.
“The last thing we want as a team is to limit people to their role,” said Ord.
The show has mostly had SPMA alumni as guests, though they have had other sport industry professionals on as well. They have had guests from Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment, the Toronto Blue Jays, TSN, the Montreal Canadiens, Golf Canada, Ottawa Sports & Entertainment and the Oilers Entertainment Group, among many others.
“We do have a focus on Brock SPMA alumni, but we also look for non-Brock alumni as well. By and large, we look for exceptional sport industry professionals and look to uncover their story and their experiences. By making sure we do a collection of both, we’re able to diversify our base of guests and hopefully diversify our listenership as well,” said Ord.
One such guest was the Treasurer for Baseball Ireland, Sean Mitchell, who appeared on the show’s season two premiere. Ord says the show never explored guests outside of Canada and the US before, but came across Mitchell through a longtime friend of Ord’s.
“I have a friend in Ireland who I’ve known for most of my life, he lived across the road and then moved to Ireland recently,” said Ord. “When he was in Canada he was a pretty good baseball player and continued to do so in Ireland. About six months ago I hadn’t heard from him in a while, so I messaged his teams’ social media account, since all his contact info changed. Turns out his dad was running the account and I ended up telling his dad about the podcast and asked if there were any guests that could come on. He said he’d ask and then low and behold we got our guest. It was a great way to expand out of our provincial border and establish the podcast’s theme for this season, which is ‘Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone.’”
Mitchell was one of the first people to bring the game of baseball to Ireland and was one of the inaugural members of Ireland’s first national team. Their episode was promoted by Mitchell’s club, Ashbourne Baseball, which is the largest baseball club in the country.
“That was totally unexpected but it was super cool to be able to reach an international audience,” said Ord. “All you have to do is ask and the worst answer you can get is no.”
The show has a rough schedule, where they record over the first two weeks of every month and then release episodes every Tuesday, though everything is dependent on when they can record. They aim for two-to-three episodes per month, something they have so far been able to achieve this term.
Upcoming guests include Adam Krueger, a SPMA alum currently working as a part of MLSE’s social media team. Krueger creates content for the Maple Leafs, Marlies and Argos social media accounts and has recently become the brains behind the Leafs’ new TikTok account.
Another future episode will feature Tyler Matthews, a SPMA alum who is now a program manager for AthletesCAN. Most of Matthews’ experience comes from the legal side of sport, specifically advocating for Canadian athlete rights, which is an area that the podcast hasn’t spent much time on yet. Ord says they’d like to get a guest in the grassroot area of sport as well, seeing as that industry has taken a beating over the past seven months.
Since the inception of the pod, the show has grown from a two-man operation to a team of people all working together to continuously create quality content for the SPMA community. Ord says the goal of the show is to create content in the interest of helping those who are interested in sports as well as those pursuing a career in the industry.
“As the show has progressed, more people have bought in and it’s been this two-year-plus journey of putting our blood sweat and tears into it,” said Ord. “Seeing how the product has grown has been incredible.”
The SPMA Council Podcast can be found on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube and Anchor.fm. To stay up to date on current and future episodes, follow @spmacouncilpodcast on Instagram.